Total Access hit the Big Time
Total Access provided a highly professional service from start to finish for what was a very delicate task in order to clean and inspect the glazing to the clock face” . Mike McCann
Photo Lewis Whyld/PA Photos
At 08.00am on Saturday the 11th August the chimes of Big Ben were silenced for a month to allow for essential maintenance and cleaning of the clock workings and face.
The hourly chimes and quarter bells have ceased to ring until late September while engineers replace the bearings on the mechanism which operates both the hour bell and the clock itself, the first time that this has been done since it was installed at the Palace of Westminster in 1839.
The UK’s leading Industrial Rope Access specialists Total Access (UK) Limited were employed to conduct the cleaning, inspection and repair of this iconic structure.
Immediately after 08.00am the chimes were stopped and the giant hands moved to the 12.00 position.
A team of Industrial Rope Access Technicians abseiled down the South face of the clock to begin inspection, repair and cleaning work, to ensure the pristine condition of Big Ben for the 150th anniversary in 2009.
This is only the 4th time in the clocks history that it has been silenced for repairs, in 1934, 1956 and 1990 and is the final phase of a refurbishment and cleaning process in the run up to the anniversary.
Mike McCann, Keeper of the Great Clock said: “We’ve never conducted this work programme before, there are no manuals, no drawings, and it should be interesting to say the least”.
The clock started keeping time again later into Saturday when a back-up electrical system was installed to keep it running during the overhaul.
Total Access' Managing Director and Chairman of IRATA Graham Burnett said:
"We are delighted to have been involved in and trusted with this vital and historic work. For our company and the Rope Access Industry as a whole, this contract represents a milestone. The team were truly professional".
For more information about this unique project or any of the other services provided by Total Access (UK) Limited, please contact Total Access on 01785 850333 or email email@example.com